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Full text of "Architectural drawings in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum"

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Architectural Drawings 



in the collection of 

the Cooper-Hewitt Museum 



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The Smithsonian Institution's 
National Museum of Design 



Cover 

Whitney Warren (1864-1943) 

United States 

Elevations of Mansions, about 1894 

Pencil and watercolors; 7.6 x 27.7 (each) 

Gift of Mrs. William Greenough 

1943-51-407,-403,-402,-406 



Inside cover 

Serge Ivan Chermayeff (born 1900) 

United States 

The Architect's Studio, Wellfleet, 

Massachusetts, 1953-54 

Pen and black ink, brown felt-tip pen, 

colored crayons; 34.9 x 42.5 

Gift of Serge Ivan Chermayeff 

1962-45-12 



1. Matteo Borboni (about 1610-1667) 

Italy 

The Funerary Monument of Elisabetta 

Sirani, 1665 

Pen and brown ink, brown wash, red and 

some black chalks; 29.9 x 16.3 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1938-88-2503 



©1982 by The Smithsonian Institution 

All rights reserved 

Library of Congress Catalog No. 82-73419 

Photographs by Scott Hyde 
Design by Sue Koch 
Typography by norType 
Printing by Eastern Press, Inc. 



Foreword 




The art of architectural drawing is en- 
joying a lively renaissance. Responding 
to the growing interest and enthusiasm 
of museums, libraries, and private col- 
lectors, contemporary architects are 
looking upon their own drawings with 
new respect. In New York City, commer- 
cial art galleries specializing in these 
drawings have emerged. The broadly 
based collections of the Cooper-Hewitt 
provide an invaluable resource for a his- 
torical survey of architectural drafts- 
manship. All of the variations of type, 
from initial sketch to finished presenta- 
tion rendering, are represented. 

As this handbook will reveal, the 
architectural drawings in the Cooper- 
Hewitt Museum are superb. Housed in 
the Drue Heinz Study Center, they form 
what is considered the largest museum 
collection of architectural drawings in 
the United States. The construction of 
the Center and the publication of this 
handbook were made possible through 
the extraordinary generosity of Henry J. 
Heinz II. To the Heinzes and the many 
donors who have contributed drawings 
to the Museum over the years, we ex- 
tend eternal gratitude. 



Lisa Taylor 
Director 




he distinction between an architectural drawings collection and a collection 
of architectural drawings may at first scrutiny appear subtle and perplexing, 
but in fact it is one between drawings for the sake of the architect and the 
building, and drawings for the sake of appearance, that is, of draftsmanship. 
Few would regard a drawing by Sir Christopher Wren for a City of London 
church as compellingly beautiful, but within the area of its unappealing wash 
there is pregnant a strength of architectural meaning that far exceeds an ele- 
gant eighteenth-century presentation by Jean-Charles Delafosse. An architec- 
tural drawings collection is built up by professional initiative with the idea in 
mind of surveying a wide spectrum of architectural achievement, not only for 
the exteriors of the buildings and their planning, but also for their decoration, 
their furnishing, and their gardens or urban enclosures. Many museums have 
ample numbers of architectural drawings. The basis of the collections of the 
Kunstbibliothek in Berlin came from the great French architect-collector Hip- 
polyte Destailleur in 1879; both the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the 
Victoria and Albert Museum in London have acquired architectural drawings 
over the past century, but never with a goal in mind. Then there are the 
restricted parameters of the academies, the Accademia di San Luca in Rome 
or the Accademia Clementina in Bologna, and similarly those of libraries, such 
as the Library of Congress in Washington or the Burnham Architectural Li- 
brary in Chicago. The same parochial or regional restrictions apply to such a 
collection as that of the Technische Universitat in Munich. In fact, professional 
architectural drawings collections are few: in Moscow, the A.V. Chusev Mu- 
seum; in London, Sir John Soane's Museum and the Royal Institute of British 
Architects; in New York, the Avery Memorial Architectural Library of Colum- 
bia University; in Montreal, the Centre d'Architecture Canadien. To this select 
few must be added the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. For although the arena of its 
coverage is vast, from architectural design to the clothes the inhabitants wore, 
its representation of the building and decorating arts is so rich and the design- 
ers such a galaxy of great names that it can stand comparison with the great 
architectural drawings collections of the world. 

The earliest known bulk purchase of architectural drawings occurred in 
Venice in 1614 when Inigo Jones and the Earl of Arundel met the aged and 
blind Vincenzo Scamozzi, who sold to them in addition to his own drawings 
all the drawings by his great master, Andrea Palladio. Eventually, all the Palla- 
dios, added to the drawings by Jones and by Jones's assistant John Webb, 
passed to William and John Talman, a father and son partnership in the ere- 





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2. Artist Unknown, Germany 
Design for a Gothic Steeple, about 1500 
Pen and black and brown ink, gray and 
pale green wash; 135.3 x 27 
Friends of the Museum Fund 
1960-77-1 



ation of an architectural and antiquarian collection from the 1690s onwards. 
They are the first architectural drawings collectors, and they pursued their task 
with fanaticism and with museological intent, even to devising a classification 
system by means of code marks. One portion alone of their collection was 
contained in over two hundred elephant folio volumes. In Stockholm and Paris 
another father and son were concurrently collecting drawings of French archi- 
tecture, decoration, and gardening. They were Nicodemus Tessin the elder and 
younger, and their collections enhance the present Print Cabinet of the National 
Museum in Stockholm. Back in England another collection was being 
formed by the architect Earl, Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. He bought 
massively from Talman sales through the 1720s, and his professional intent is 
demonstrated by the acquisition of drawings as exemplars of good design. 

This whole idea of exemplars conditions the two earliest professional collec- 
tions of architectural drawings in the world, professional in the sense of being 
established right from the start as a quasi-public resource, and deliberately 
organized so as to educate. Sir John Soane's Museum was founded in 1833 and 
the Institute of British Architects in 1834, but whereas the Soane Museum was 
a static collection from the beginning, the Institute looked to the future with 
limitless parameters. One of the Institute's first acquisitions was Sir John 
Drummond Stewart's collection of Italian and French stage designs assembled 
when Sir John was in Italy during the 1820s. In an uncanny way the Drum- 
mond Stewart Collection is a microcosm of the Giovanni Piancastelli Collec- 
tion in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Both shared a delight in the art of per- 
spective, but there the parallel ends, for Piancastelli's collection was vast, and 
it is this that endows the Cooper-Hewitt with an unmatched supremacy. Of its 
sort, it is the most distinguished collection in America. In essence, it is a cele- 
bration in drawing of the fine, decorative, and applied arts. 

The Museum was founded by Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt in 1896 with the 
idea of founding in New York a Musee des Arts Decoratifs, well known to them 
from their visits to Paris. It was possibly there, shortly before 1901, that they 
got wind of Piancastelli's impending sales. He had become the first state direc- 
tor of the Borghese Gallery in Rome following its purchase in 1899; he was to 
retire to Bologna in 1906. Great mystery surrounds the circumstances of his own 
personal collection, which he must have been assembling after 1870. The turn 
of the century marked a high point in the history of European collections, with 
the dispersal of works of art, including drawings, on a scale undreamed of before. 

In England architectural material had been widely available by the early 





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3. Bernardino Sozi (Sotij) di Vincenzo 

(active 1573-1603) 

Italy 

Proposed Additions to an Octagonal 

Church, 1573 

Pen and grav-brown ink over black chalk; 

35.1 x 26.7 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1938-88-2648 



professional booksellers, such as Taylor, Weale, and Priestley, from whom the 
French academic architects in the nineteenth century bought massively. Pian- 
castelli, himself, took advantage of sales such as the great Lavergne architec- 
tural library in Brussels in 1879. Apparently, however, it was necessary for 
Piancastelli to sell his collection of more than 12,000 drawings in order to 
spend his remaining years in Bologna as a painter. The Misses Hewitt bought 
roughly 4000 drawings from Piancastelli, and Mr. and Mrs. Edward D. Bran- 
degee, Boston collectors, bought about 8000. It could hardly have been seren- 
dipity that enabled the Piancastelli and Brandegee collections to be reunited in 
New York in 1938. In the history of architectural collecting there is only one 
obvious parallel to such a remarkable unification, and that is when, in 1721, 
Palladio's whole collection was brought together in London for the first time 
since the 1550s. 

Sales of French books and drawings from the 1870s are legion, but none 
could match those of Hippolyte Destailleur, the greatest private architectural 
collector since the Talmans. Destailleur, like most of the academy-trained ar- 
chitects of his generation, collected exemplars in books, prints, and drawings. 
The tradition for this lasted until the emergence of the modern movement in 
Europe after the First World War. Two French Beaux-Arts architects who 
bought heavily at Destailleur's sales in the 1890s were Mewes, of Mewes and 
Davis, architects of the Paris and the London Ritz, and Leon Decloux 
of Sevres. Both had good taste and bought with discrimination. The 
Misses Hewitt met Decloux through a mutual friend and made negotiated 
purchases from him in 1909, 1911, and 1927 of nearly a thousand splendid 
French architectural, ornamental, and decorative drawings. It was a great 
coup and laid an imprimatur of excellence on the Cooper-Hewitt Museum 
that could never be challenged. It has been strengthened by many wonderful 
gifts and purchases since the Second World War, especially during the period of 
vigorous international architectural collecting in the 1950s and 1960s, as well 
as by additions of drawings for the theater, for costume, for decorative arts, for 
wallpapers, and for fabrics. The stimulus of acquisition has never ceased. 

The earliest architectural drawings are generally anonymous, by those late 
medieval Gothic masters whose system was a two-dimensional one of large 
patterns frequently incised on stone or wood boards, and latterly on vellum or 
paper. As the Cooper-Hewitt's earliest architectural drawing demonstrates, a 
German designer of a Gothic steeple or fleche worked with a flat linear image, 
the quality of three-dimensionality only conveyed by shadowed wash (figure 
2). Perhaps as much for a secular as an ecclesiastical commission, this design 




resembles in technique, and in being drawn on paper, that for Bishop West's 
Chantry in Winchester Cathedral, of about 1520 (Royal Institute of British 
Architects, London). The use of the measurement inscribed "200 shoes high" is 
an early alternative for "feet." The drawing stands at the beginning of the art 
of perspective, and it was a happy purchase in 1960, for it is at the beginning 
of the story of perspective in the Museum. 

It is to Piancastelli that the Museum must pay tribute, for he was fascin- 
ated by the art of perspective and collected drawings not necessarily for their 
architectural value but as examples of perspective construction. Bernardino 
Sozi di Vincenzo's project dated 1573 for adding three chapels to an earlier 
church, possibly San Ercolano in Perugia, obviously attracted Piancastelli for 
the difficult task of drawing three circular chapels correctly (figure 3). It is 
not quite right, and in contrast, Jacques Androuet du Cerceau's design for the 



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4. Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, 

the Elder 

(1510-1585) 

France 

Chateau de Verneuil- sur-Oise, near 

Sentis, 1568 

Pen and brown ink, blue and gray 

washes; 42.9 x 54.8 

Gift of The Council of the Museum 

1911-28-72 



5. Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709) 
Italy 

Elevation and Cross Section of a Pro- 
posed Facade of San Giovanni m 
Laterano, Rome, about 1699 
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, black 
chalk; 47.9 x 74.4 
Friends of the Museum Fund 
1938-88-3504 





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6. Giuseppe Barberi (1746-1809) 

Italy 

Square with a Domed Library 

Pen and brown ink, brown wash; 

20.3 x 27.8 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1938-88-1093 



10 



Chateau de Verneuil in France, about 1569, a Destailleur-Decloux purchase, is 
a great perspective piece by an architect whose Lecpns de Perspective Positive of 
1576 was to become one of the standard treatises (figure 4). Piancastelli would 
have delighted in this Verneuil design, for he loved intricate spatial effects, a 
reason perhaps for his relentless acquisition of stage designs. This drawing dif- 
fers in many particulars from the designs in the British Museum and from the 
engraved plates of the chateau in his Les Plus Excellents Bastiments de France, 1575. 

Inclinations to perspective were undoubtedly in part the initiative to ac- 
quire Matteo Borboni's funeral catafalque of the talented Bolognese painter 
Elisabetta Sirani, who died tragically young at the age of 26 in 1665 (figure 1). 
In this, Borboni displays the perspectivist's gimmick of featuring the ground 
plan axiometrically. This was a baroque device affecting drawing techniques, 
all of which were codified in Andrea Pozzo's Perspectwa Pictorum et Architectorum, 
a treatise of 1693, with numerous later editions, that was to exert more influ- 
ence upon stage design and illusionistic mural painting than any other book. 
Piancastelli acquired Pozzo's competition design for the facade of San Gio- 
vanni in Laterano in Rome prepared about 1699 (figure 5), an astonishingly 
complex and spatial solution to the problems of a facade, leading directly to 
Meissonier's acclaimed 1731 rococo design for St. Sulpice in Paris. Pozzo's de- 
sign was not executed, and differs from the engraved version in the second 
volume of his Trattato. The church finally received a modern facade in 1732, by 
Alessandro Galilei. 

If Piancastelli's drawings in the Cooper-Hewitt represent the bulk of his 
architectural collection, then even when he was collecting examples by his 
nineteenth-century contemporaries, he avoided those immobile or frozen late 
classic drawings, preferring the tyros of perspective. Hence his acquisition of 
the major portion of the oeuvre of Giuseppe Barberi, a visionary architect work- 
ing in Rome between 1775 and 1790, whose drawings are of a fantasy and 
fertile scale of invention only exceeded by that earlier visionary, the great 
Piranesi. Barberi is still an unknown quantity in the history of Italian architec- 
ture after 1770. His achievement in actual building eludes the search, and his 
real influence is undetermined. He was very much the gray eminence behind 
Giuseppe Valadier and Roman town planning. Indeed, the Museum's nearly 
1200 Barberi drawings were at one time attributed to Valadier. Barberi belongs 
to a group of artists and architects of the neoclassic era who drew in a liquid 
and chiaroscuro manner, as the design for a library or museum set in a fiction- 
alized square or palace shows (figure 6). Another visionary of the same breed, 



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7. Giacomo del Po (1652-1726) 

Italy 

Doorway with Memorial to Giovanni Domenico 

Milano, Duca di San Giorgio, m the Sacristy 

of San Domenico Maggiore, Naples, 1712-1713 

Pen and brown ink, gray wash, pencil; 

54 x 30.9 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1901-39-2173 




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8. Carlo Marchionni (1702-1786) 

Italy 

West Door of San Salvatore in Lauro, 

Rome, Decorated for the Requiem 

of Frederic III of Poland, 1763 

Brush and gray wash, pencil; 

50.9 x 34.3 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1901-39-2182 



9. Paolo Posi (1708-1776) 

Italy 

Facade of a Villa Decorated for the 

Visit of Pope Clement XIII, 1758-1769 

Pen and black ink, gray and pink wash; 

41.2x84.4 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1938-88-896 



also represented in the Museum by numerous drawings, is Felice Giani, who 
could turn his hand to almost anything, but who specialized in the decoration 
of palaces and the invention of mythological compositions full of fantastic 
architecture. His Victory Monument in the Foro Bonoparte in Milan, about 
1800, is not only a reminder that Giani was patronized by the haut ton of the 
Napoleonic court in France as well as Italy, but is also spectacular as a draw- 
ing. Piancastelli's choice is again and again conditioned by the theatric or 
illusionistic. This can be recognized in certain designs for portals or doorways. 
Fully baroque is Giacomo del Po's grisaille illusionistic decoration over the 
entrance to the sacristy in San Domenico Maggiore in Naples (figure 7), where 
del Po died in 1726; Carlo Marchionni's doorway to the Grand Gallery in the 
Villa Albani, Rome, a product of his employment there about 1756, is a frozen 
late baroque restatement thirty years later. Marchionni's drawing is neither 
baroque nor neoclassic but ambivalent. What must have attracted Piancastelli 
was the manner by which the architect introduced a sense of immediacy to his 
design by featuring spectators in it; they also appear in his temporary decora- 



13 





14 



10. Louis-Joseph Le Lorrain (1715-1759) 

France 

Architectural Fantasy with Vase, Henn, 

and Colonnade 

Brush and gray wash, black chalk; 

34.7 x 22.5 

Gift of The Council of the Museum 

1911-28-101 



11. Charles-Francois Hutin (1715-1776) 

France 

Gate to the Temple of Hymen, 1745 

Pen and black ink, watercolor; 45.3 x 32.5 

Gift of The Council of the Museum 

1911-28-21 



tions for the west door of San Salvatore in Lauro, Rome, created for the fu- 
neral of Frederick Augustus II (King of Saxony) then Augustus III (of Poland), 
who died in 1763 (figure 8). 

What these figures bring to the design is the addition of a picturesque 
element, for by 1763 architectural drawing had been transformed by new de- 
vices of presentation, most notably in the manner in which a proposed build- 
ing might be set in a fictitious landscape. The introduction of an appearance 
of reality in an otherwise fictional composition is founded in French practice of 
the age of Louis XIV, as in engraved designs of Jean le Pautre and Daniel 
Marot, and was given authority in the 1740s and 1750s in Rome when that city 
was the melting pot of early neoclassicism. The vortex of all this was centered 
upon the French Academy, whose students designed ephemeral festival and 
firework displays and ceremonies. The Museum has two such displays by Paolo 
Posi in which apparently real architecture, a late baroque classical Roman 
villa or palazzo set in a square or courtyard, is, in fact, merely a theatrical 
facade constructed of timber and painted canvas (figure 9). This is the realm 
in which the unreal is married to the real to produce the temporary decora- 
tion. The Museum's holdings in these can hardly be equaled anywhere, and 
not surprisingly this was as much Decloux's taste as Piancastelli's. A sequence 
of magisterial designs might start off with Charles Hutin's Gate to the Temple of 
Hymen, move on to a rare group of ruin fantasies signed by Louis Le Lorrain, 
and to an architectural capriccio by Charles-Michel-Ange Challe, Le Lorrain's 
companion at the French Academy in Rome in the 1740s, both of whom were 
profoundly influenced by their mentor, Piranesi, the wizard of the etched com- 
position. The Hutin design (figure 11) is for the entrance to a pavilion erected 
in the Place Dauphine, Paris, one of several temporary structures in the city 
built to celebrate the wedding of the Dauphin (the son of Louis XV) to Marie- 
Therese of Spain on 23-26 February, 1745. Hutin was adept at court pageantry 
and festivals demanding temporary structures, usually built of plaster, wood, 
and painted canvas. He was trained as a painter, and although he came into 
contact with pioneer neoclassicists such as Louis Le Lorrain, he was never 
happy with the new style, preferring, as this arch demonstrates, the late ba- 
roque. Le Lorrain's neoclassicism is evident in a fantasy of the antique and the 
modern (figure 10) made in Rome in the late 1740s in which the antique is 
represented by fragments and the modern by Bernini's colonnade of St. Peter's. 

Rome at mid-eighteenth century was a great boiling pot, and the ideas 



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12. Louis-Gustave Taraval (1738-1794) 

Triumphal Arch with the Royal Swedish 

Coat of Arms, 1767 

Pen and black ink, watercolor, black 

chalk indications; 46.9 x 56.3 

Gift of The Council of the Museum 

1911-28-282 



13. Louis-Jean Desprez (1743-1804) 

France (active in Sweden) 

Sepulcher in Egyptian Style, with Death 

Carrying a Lamp, about 1779-1784 

Pen and black ink, gray wash, watercolor, 

pencil; 14.5 x 20 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1938-88-3952 



generated there spilled over across Europe, affecting the work of a second gen- 
eration of French or French-trained architects, of whom Decloux acquired 
many examples. A random selection would include the work of two Franco- 
Swedes, both students in Paris: Louis-Gustave Taraval and Louis- Jean Des- 
prez. Taraval's triumphal arch (figure 12) is inscribed as having been commis- 
sioned by the town of Stockholm in 1767, almost certainly to commemorate the 
victories of King Adolphus Frederick against Prussia, concluded by a favorable 
peace treaty in 1765. Taraval, born in Sweden and of French parentage, was 
one of Louis XV's court architects, but maintained many contacts with Swe- 
den and designed Swedish court festivities. He represented, with Desprez, the 
School of Paris in Swedish architectural affairs. Louis-Jean Desprez was fasci- 
nated by the architecture of death, devising projects for mausolea, and while in 
Rome in the 1780s designed a series of four interiors for tombs, all powerful 
evocations of death (figure 13). Desprez was a master of the art of watercolor 
and rendering, and in the 1790s established himself under King Gustav Ill's 
patronage in Stockholm. 

By the 1780s neoclassicism in this romantic vein had become the language 
of the European community, as much the vocabulary of Paris and London as 
of Copenhagen, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg. One of Taraval's and Desprez 's 
Parisian associates was Jean-Charles Delafosse, whose Temple of Mars and 
Temple of Immortality (figure 14) in the Museum are splendid examples of 
that geometric style called by the French the gout grec. In the subject matter 
and scale of this conception Delafosse resembles such visionary architects as 
Boullee and Ledoux. In many ways Delafosse's influence has been underes- 
timated, for he was also an ornamentalist of formative persuasions, and his 
engraved furniture designs helped propagate the new Louis Seize style. 

From Decloux came an exterior elevation in the manner of Etienne-Louis 
Boullee (figure 15). It is a design for a gigantic domed circular temple, in- 
scribed as a Temple de la Cunosite. This "visionary" design is not by Boullee, but 
by an admirer or follower who had access to his project for an opera made in 
1781. The Temple de la Curiosite overwhelms by its size, belonging to that same 
elevated realm of the improbable as Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel's globe 
of the world surmounted by a quadriga (figure 16), which the architect and 
artist must have fondly hoped would have been built in the middle of some 
Paris square, just as he had once proposed an elephant as high as a six-story 
building. Houel's intention for the globe monument is documented by the 
inscribed etching, of about 1802, after the drawing. This could almost be 



17 





18 



14. Jean-Charles Delafosse 

(1734-1791) 

France 

Mausoleum for a Soldier ( Temple of 

Mars), about 1765 

Pen and black ink, gray and black 

wash, over black chalk indications; 

15.3 x 23.6 

Gift of The Council of the Museum 

1911-28-63 



15. Circle of Etienne-Louis Boullee 

(1728-1799) 

France 

Temple de la Cunosite 

Pen and black ink, blue and brown 

wash; 21 x 42.2 

Gift of The Council of the Museum 

1911-28-463 



16. Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel 

(1735-1813) 

France 

Public Monument to be Erected in a 

Paris Square, about 1802 

Pen and gray ink, brown wash, 

pencil; 28.6x23 

Gift of The Council of the Museum 

1911-28-412 




19 




regarded as a revival in the age of neoclassicism of gigantic sixteenth-century 
mannerist garden works like Pratolino. 

Piancastelli's obsession with perspective naturally converted him into a fa- 
natic collector of theater designs. In the case of a design such as Giovanni 
Battista Natali's decoration for the Law Courts at Naples, about 1750 (figure 
17), the division between the theater and architecture is a fine one, for the wall 
is dissolved by illusionism. 

Looking through the Piancastelli collection the lack of massive representa- 
tion of traditional neoclassic and late classic designs bears out the theory that 
Piancastelli was not attracted to drawings showing architecture for architec- 
ture's sake. He would not have liked a Wren drawing! The Museum has a 
typical example of late classic astylism in Giuseppe Lucatelli's designs for the 
entrance facade, and for one bay of the boxes, of the Teatro Vaccai at Tolen- 
tino, Italy, built for Philip, Cardinal Carandini, in 1790 (figure 18), or much 
later in Antonio Sarti's Manifattura dei Tabacchi, built to modified form on 
the Piazza Mastai, Rome, completed in 1863 (figure 19). Sarti represented the 



20 




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17. Giovanni Battista Natali III 

(1698-1765) 

Italy 

Wall Decoration for the Law Courts, 

Naples, about 1750 

Pen and black ink, gray wash; 44.5 x 59.8 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1938-88-25 



18. Giuseppe Lucatelli (or Locatelli) 

(1751-1828) 

Italy 

Elevation of the Tealro Vaccai, Tolentino 

Pen and black ink, gray wash; 30.4 x 43.2 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1938-88-3739 



19. Antonio Sarti (1797-1880) 

Italy 

Alternative Designs for the Tobacco 

Factor)', Piazza Mastai, Rome, 1859-1863 

Pen and black ink, watercolor, pencil; 

50.9 x 68.8 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1938-88-4164 









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20. Giacomo Quarenghi (1744-1817) 

Italy 

Proposed Triumphal A rch for Napoleon I 

at Bergamo, 1810-1812 

Pen and black ink, gray wash; 44.7 x 34.2 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1938-88-3743 



21. Mario Asprucci, the Younger 

(1764-1804) 

Italy 

Design for Ickworth House, Suffolk, 

England, 1794-1795 

Pen and black ink, watercolor, over 

black chalk indications; 23 x 65.2 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1938-88-7172 



end of the great classical tradition in Italy, combining the twin streams of 
neo-Palladianism and neoclassicism. Even when Piancastelli acquired fairly 
straightforward designs, he obviously preferred a chiaroscuro draftsman such 
as Giacomo Quarenghi, who in 1779 took the late Palladian style from Italy to 
St. Petersburg. Quarenghi died there in 1817, but had maintained contacts with 
his native city of Bergamo, where the bulk of his drawings remain today. In 
honoring his city, perhaps, Quarenghi proposed the triumphal arch (figure 20), 
which has been dated to about 1810 and was to commemorate a visit by Napo- 
leon I. 

One other aspect of Piancastelli's collecting is represented among the Mu- 
seum's architectural drawings. In 1871 he was invited to become drawing mas- 
ter to Prince Borghese's son, which began his twenty years as a Borghese em- 
ployee. During this time he must have acquired a small group of designs by 
Mario Asprucci the younger, a young architect full of promise who died tragi- 
cally in Rome in 1804. Asprucci had contributed to the decorating of the 
Borghese villa in Rome under his father in the 1780s and was befriended by 
many of the English grand tourists for whom the villa was a magnetic attrac- 
tion. Where John Soane failed, Asprucci succeeded; he attracted the 4th Earl 
of Bristol (more popularly known as the Earl Bishop of Derry), and was com- 
missioned to design the Earl's house at Ickworth in Suffolk, sending over to 
England several designs and a wooden model around 1795, and witnessing its 
building from 1796. Many were the designs and dashed hopes of Italian archi- 
tects offered to the English milordi on the grand tour, but Asprucci's design for 
Ickworth was one of the few that was carried out. His 1796 design was modi- 
fied after 1803 when the Earl Bishop died. Nevertheless, Ickworth is an Italian 
neoclassic mansion in the English countryside (figure 21 ). 

The quixotic world of the make believe has a special place in the Cooper- 
Hewitt, not only because of the festival designs which appeal to the heightened 
imagination, but because it is the world's greatest treasure house of chinoiserie 
designs, incarnated in the Crace Collection. Frederick Crace might have re- 
mained an average London decorator had he not met John Nash, the Prince 
Regent's architect. As often happens, the right two people came together at 
just the right time, when Nash had been commissioned in 1802 by the Prince, 
later King George IV, to build an exotic seaside pavilion at Brighton. The 
intertwining of genius in this fun palace cannot be disentangled, but the Mu- 
seum's drawings certainly demonstrate that Crace, and Crace alone, supplied 
the designs for the chinoiserie interiors, and in any case Nash couldn't draw for 



23 





24 






22. Frederick Crace (1779-1859) 

England 

Fishing Temple, Virginia Water, Windsor 

Great Park, Berkshire, England, about 1825 

Pen and black ink, watercolor, pencil; 

32.2 x 42.2 

Purchased in Memory of Annie 

Schermerhorn Kane 

1948-40-96A 



23. Frederick Crace (1779-1859) 

England 

Tented Beach Pavilions, 1815-1822 

Pen and ink, watercolor; 18.4 x 35.6 

Purchased in Memory of Annie 

Schermerhorn Kane 

1948-40-92 



24. Hector Guimard (1867-1942) 

France 

Castel d'Orgeval, Pare de Beausejour, 

Paris: Rear Facade, 1904 

Pen and black and red ink, pencil; 

53.3 x 47.7 

Gift of Madame Hector Guimard 

1950-66-5 







L- 



toffee! There is little to compare with Crace 's collection and even less to know 
how he acquired such a fertility of invention. He was probably an example of 
pure genius. The Crace firm was also employed by the King at Windsor. An 
exotic pavilion for his favorite sport of angling was commissioned by George 
IV from Sir Jeffrey Wyatville in 1825 (figure 22). By 1828 it had cost the 
astonishing sum of over £15,000. Its actual designer was almost certainly 
Crace. The design for a grouping of chinoiserie tents was possibly for King 
George IV's visits to the beach at Brighton or is connected with the four large 
and four small tents erected for the king on the shore of Virginia Water near 
the Fishing Pavilion and intended for al fresco entertainment (figure 23). How- 
ever, the mountainous background to the design may imply a purely decora- 
tive commission such as a wallpaper or painted panel. 

Frederick Crace's success at Brighton set the seal of the Establishment upon 
the family firm, and under his son John Gregory and his grandson John Dib- 
lee, few banks, clubs or great country houses were not decorated by the Craces. 
In some of their more extravagant designs, such as the Brighton Music Room 



25 








26 



25. Ely Jacques Kahn (1884-1972) 

United States 

Skyscraper, 1930 

Pencil; 56.6 x 34.3 

Gift of Ely Jacques Kahn 

1952-15-13 



26. Hugh Ferriss (1889-1962) 

United States 

Sludy for the Maximum Mass Permitted by the 

1916 New York Zoning Law, Stage 4, 1922 

Black crayon, stumped, and varnished; 

66.5 x 50.8 

Gift of Mrs. Hugh Ferriss 

1969-137-4 



of 1818, we are compelled in our imagination to move ahead to the equally 
quixotic world of Art Nouveau, and to the Museum's holdings of that master 
of the Parisian mode, Hector Guimard, who died exiled in New York in 1942. 
His drawings, given to the Museum by Madame Guimard in 1950, provide a 
comparably anticlassical world to that of Frederick Crace. Much of this be- 
longs to the topography of the seizieme arrondusement in Paris, such as the design 
for the Castel d'Orgeval (figure 24), a house designed for Mr. Laurent in Sep- 
tember, 1904, in the Pare de Beausejour, a small private way or group of houses, 
and those for the apartments on the rue Henri Heine designed by Guimard 
in 1925, for which he was awarded the Grand Prix d'Architecture in 1929, the 
year Le Corbusier was designing the Swiss House at the Cite Universitaire! 

The circumstances behind the formation of the Cooper-Hewitt meant that 
its paper archives would tend to reflect the mores of the 1900s, when Beaux- 
Arts taste was in vogue and classical architecture of the late seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries admired. Those strong links between the United States 
and France that drew American architects to Paris as the lodestone of a Euro- 
pean tour meant that, on the whole, nineteenth-century Gothic, especially 
English Gothic, and less so the Gothic and early classical of Viollet-Le-Duc, was 
neglected. The Misses Hewitt, too, were perhaps more attracted to some con- 
temporary American architects in whose works they might have felt the ideals 
of the Museum were encapsulated. Such a one would have been Whitney War- 
ren, even if his "Golden Book" of works from the 1880s was only given in 1943. 
During those years of the great American bankers and railway magnates, New 
York acquired the allure, by virtue of its thrusting vitality, of an imperial city. 
Warren's New York Public Library design of 1897, his unexecuted designs for 
the Pierpont Morgan Library of 1899, and the studies for Grand Central Sta- 
tion of 1910 confirm this analogy. New York at this time went upwards and 
outwards, and Warren was clearly an outwards man, not a claimant in the 
stakes of skyscraper design. An early commission in Whitney's career for the 
Newport Golf Club shows the influence of Beaux-Arts red brick sources in 
Paris and English "Wrenaissance." 

The Warren style is incarnated in Ely Jacques Kahn's Beaux-Arts Concours 
designs of 1907, but then Kahn was a young architect of twenty-three years of 
age. When he gave his drawings to the Museum in 1952, they spanned in style 
a whole generation. He, too, with his firm of Buchman and Kahn, "reached for 
the sky," to borrow a simile, in the design for a skyscraper of 1930 in the 
fashionable bullet or rocket form with a cubist base (figure 25). From 1916 



27 






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27. Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, 

called Le Corbusier (1887-1965) 

Switzerland (active in France) 

Villa Stem, 1926 

Pencil; 24.1 x 32.2 

Purchased in Memory of James B. Ford 

and Peter Cooper Hewitt 

1936-60-2 



architects had been bothered by the principles of mass in building upwards, 
and in this year a New York Zoning Law was put into effect concerned with 
the maximum mass. One of the Museum's most fascinating acquisitions oc- 
curred in 1969 when Mrs. Hugh Ferriss gave her husband's projects made in 
1922 for the New York architectural firm of Helmle & Corbett to challenge the 
New York zoning law of 1916 restricting the permissible amount of mass that 
might be built upon a city block (figure 26). It was this that forced architects 
to design skyscrapers in the style of stepped-back cubes. Ferriss was one of the 
most talented perspectivists of his generation, particularly delighting in a 
strong chiaroscuro. The mass drawings are among the most dramatic of mod- 
ern architectural drawings. In 1929, in the Metropolis of Tomorrow, he likened 
skyscrapers to " . . . crystals. Walls of translucent glass. Sheer glass blocks 
sheathing a steel grill. No Gothic branch: no Acanthus leaf: no recollection of 
the plant world. A mineral kingdom. Gleaming stalagmites. Forms as cold as 
ice. Mathematics. Night in the Science Zone." The Ferriss style, if it may be 
described as such, belongs to New York as something alien to the European 
tradition represented by the international style of Le Corbusier. The Museum 
scored a notable first in 1936 when Corbu's elevation, section, and perspective 
sketches for the celebrated Villa Stein at Garches, a suburb of Paris near the 
Pare St. Cloud, were acquired (figure 27). The Villa had been built for Ger- 
trude Stein's brother in 1926. William Edward Lescaze, a follower of Corbu, 
gave several drawings and photostats of his own projects in 1937. 

Much of the European modern movement was insinuated into America 
through the personal appearance of immigrants escaping from the dark 
shadow of Nazi Germany. Gropius was one, so was Mendelsohn, and so was 
Serge Chermayeff, who brought to drafting techniques an unusual warmth 
and gaiety quite atypical of the usual linear manner of Corbu or Gropius. For 
Chermayeff the drawing is a primary mode of expression, and the colored 
crayon a powerful weapon. Chermayeff pioneered modern architecture in 
England in the 1930s before emigrating to America. His designs betray his skill 
and training as a painter, for unlike the anesthetized draftsmanship of so many 
of his Bauhaus-trained contemporaries, Chermayeff conveys meaning with his 
use of bright colors and surface textures (inside Cover). It may achieve the same 
ends but is different from the linearism of Pietro Belluschi, whose designs at 
the Cooper-Hewitt include a 1958 split-level house at Palo Alto and the Boston 
First Lutheran Church (figure 28), as well as the 1960 Boston Trinity Church 
Chapel. The Lutheran church is one of Belluschi's most successful small church 



29 




30 



28. Pietro Belluschi (born 1899) 

United States 

Preliminary Design for First Lutheran 

Church, Boston, 1958 

Brush and black ink; 13.5 x 21.1 

Gift of Pietro Belluschi 

1962-35-11 



29. Michael Graves (born 1934) 

United States 

Fargo-Moorhead Cultural Center 

(South Elevation, Preliminary Study), 1979 

Colored pencil; 67.5 x 137.5 

Friends of the Museum Fund 

1980-4-1 



30. Carnegie Mansion embellishments by 
Folon and Milton Glaser 
Gifts of the Artists 



or chapel projects. It was done in 1958 when the architect was Dean of the 
School of Architecture and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
Belluschi, Gropius, Mendelsohn— all reacted against the fine art, technicolor 
style of the Beaux-Arts school. No one will deny that many of their drawings 
are unattractive, although linearism in the hands of a John Flaxman or a 
Thomas Hope can be a powerful image. There is now a reaction against this 
minimal style; students are once again discovering the virtues and delights in 
sketchbooks, and fine draftsmanship is encouraged. In America, particularly, 
this revival has been a companion to the post-modernist school which is repre- 
sented by Michael Graves's Cultural Center for Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, 
Minnesota, 1979 (figure 29). This epitomizes the new generation that loves draw- 
ing for drawing's sake, not only for architecture's. Nothing could demonstrate 
this better than the fertile series of projects initiated by the Museum as an 
incarnation of the Carnegie House, the Museum's home (figure 30). In all these 
manifestations of the house the spirit and genius of drawing is evoked, and it is 
surely appropriate that it should be so in the Cooper-Hewitt, the Smithsonian 
Institution's National Museum of Design. 

John Harris 





31 



Selected General Bibliography 



Wunder, Richard P. Extravagant Drawings of the Eighteenth Century from the Collec- 
tion of The Cooper Union Museum. New York: Lambert-Spector, Inc., 1962. 



Exhibition Catalogues: 

Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum. Idee und Anspruch der Architektur, Introduc- 
tion by Elaine E. Dee, 1979-80. 

London, Royal Institute of British Architects: Drawings Collection. Great 
Drawings from the Collection. Introduction by John Harris, 1972. 

London, Victoria and Albert Museum. An American Museum of Decorative Arts and 
Design: Designs from The Cooper-Hewitt Collection, New York. Introduction by Lisa 
Taylor, 1973. 

New York, Cooper Union Museum. "The Architect's Eye," The Cooper Union 
Museum Chronicle, Vol. 3, No. 4, September 1962, pp. 3-48. Introduction by 
Richard P. Wunder. 

New York, The Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Crosscurrents: French and Italian Neoclas- 
sical Drawings and Prints .... Introduction by Catherine Bernard, 1978. 

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Architectural and Ornament Draw- 
ings: Juvarra, Vanvitelli, The Bibiena Family, & Other Italian Draughtsmen. Introduc- 
tion by Mary L. Myers, 1975. 

Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. Italian 
Architectural Drawings Lent by the Royal Institute of British Architects, London. In- 
troduction by John Harris, 1966. 



32 







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